Jami L. Anderson
University of Michigan - Flint
After stating "I am gay" Navy Lieutenant Paul G. Thomasson was honorably discharged from the military. In Thomasson v. Perry (1996), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth District affirmed Thomasson's discharge. Thomasson is now considered the leading case evaluating the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In this paper, I show that the court's analysis of the Department of Defense policy rests of two unarticulated and undefended assumptions about sexuality. The first is that an act of sex is essentially defined in terms of the sexual orientation of the persons engaging in that act. The second is that whether or not a person is an open homosexual determines the essential nature of the homosexual acts of others. I conclude that both assumptions are untenable, therefore the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is indefensible.
Keywords homophobia  military law  gay rights  Don't ask, don't tell  homosexuality
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